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Westline
06-09-2011, 01:52 PM
Ok I hope I'm not starting a fight here I just need some group input.
I know we like yakking about crap china tools and good US tools but that is kind of my point.
US is quality at a high price cus it take longer to make ( time = money )
China makes tons and sell them at a dime a dozen.
Ok I'll get to the point.
I have come to the point where I have to take on paying clients to support my tool addiction. My question is what rule do you guys apply in your shops.
Are your known as the guy that does stunning work but dang he is pricey or are you the guy that plays jump rope with the quality of work but your just to cheap for clients not to use your service.

Kobus

A.K. Boomer
06-09-2011, 02:08 PM
I do high quality work for a very cheap price.

You guys are right, maybe I should have said "reasonable" - cheap is a bad phrase.

jackary
06-09-2011, 02:17 PM
So do I but I am very slow

Dr Stan
06-09-2011, 02:18 PM
If you chase the low price all you will ever get are customers who always want to get by on the cheap. Charge a fair price for quality work

Bob Fisher
06-09-2011, 02:38 PM
Post a sign in the shop, put it on your letterhead, your business cards,or wherever you can. Quality, Delivery,cost. PICK TWO! Bob Fisher.

photomankc
06-09-2011, 02:49 PM
Post a sign in the shop, put it on your letterhead, your business cards,or wherever you can. Quality, Delivery,cost. PICK TWO! Bob Fisher.

That's always a good one. So many examples of the same concept too. In backpacking its: Good, Light, Cheap - Select only two.

RB211
06-09-2011, 02:51 PM
I never realized the importance of proper geometry for a screw driver until I bought my Snap On screw driver... Hollow ground bits, such a minor small thing, yet makes using the screw driver a million times more enjoyable... Just imagine, the bits actually don't jump out...
My current Part time job is working for Printroom as a fan photographer... TOTAL BASTARDIZATION of the photography profession...
They are all about quantity over quality. Maybe a couple of my co-workers know what the actual purpose of adjusting the F-stop is... All are given a cheat sheet to set the settings on the camera... Been told if they actually spent the time to teach the basics of photography, people would get flustered and leave the next day...
They only care about picture count... Numbers game, the more photos that are taken, the more that will sell...
I much prefer quality over quantity, as long as the Quality = lasts forever.
The only tool purchase where I do not seek quality over quantity is with cordless power tools.
I will never buy a Dewalt, Makita, or other top quality cordless tool simply because the batteries are all junk. I am very happy to buy Ryobi cordless drills because at their price, when the batteries fail, buy a new one. Notice I also would never ever buy a HF cordless drill... It needs to last at least a few years!

Back to your original post, I am never paid what I am worth as a fan photographer, as it is a total bastardization of the profession. When I do professional assignments for my own work, I expect to make at least 300$ for a few hours work for a gig. Day rates, I want to be paid around 1000$ minimum. If I am charged with providing photos, doing photoshop work, etc, that price can jump to 3000$ for a one time assignment.
So why do I work as a fan photographer? It keeps me busy on a DAILY basis, pays the bills, etc.. When a job comes along that wants quality work AND more importantly, actually has the money to pay me for my services, I will do it. I will NOT do that caliber of work for what most people want to pay, and that is a daily rate of about 50$....
Everyone magically becomes a professional photographer when they buy a super fancy expensive DSLR and operate it in green box auto mode... They even tell me so... In this economy, we are all screwed.

Toolguy
06-09-2011, 02:56 PM
I do first quality work for a price that is a good value for the customer, but not cheap. Don't play price wars, you will work your butt off for peanuts and those kind of customers will always be trying to get you to go even cheaper. Good way to go broke too. Charge a fair hourly rate and stick to it.The people you want to work with are the ones that want good work and understand you get what you pay for. I often even get generous tips on top of what I ask for because people are so happy with what they got. Make a reputation for yourself of always making sure the person or company got what they needed/wanted, then the money isn't an issue. It takes a while to get ramped up, but you will soon have a good backlog of work. Don't cheap out on tools, but don't spend more than you have to to get what will do the job. I have bought a lot of quality import tools and a lot of killer deals on ebay and saved a fortune without having to try to earn a living with junk that is hard to use or won't do the job.

plunger
06-09-2011, 02:58 PM
Kobus if you set a precedent with your customers its hard to break the cycle . Better to start to expensive than too cheap. Alot of people are ignorant when it comes to machining. I hate it when I make three times more money changing a tap washer using a shifting spanner than when I make an obsolete tap part making a left hand square thread and having to make a one off internal and external 20 groove spline for a handle on expensive machinery

Boucher
06-09-2011, 05:41 PM
I told my customers that my price was fair and that it was not going to be the lowest. I also told them that some of my best and most appreciative customers were the ones that tried the other guy first. Some had to confirm that the hard way but that is the way it ultimately worked out. I worked hard at being the absolute best. I could have made a lot more money if I had been willing to cut some corners. I am happy with both the compensation and the friends that I made with my customers. If they were looking for cheap or didn't share my opinions on quality were were both best served if they went on down the road.

sasquatch
06-09-2011, 07:11 PM
Just my little opinion:

If you turn out your,e very best workmanship, charge for it.

Somebody has to be the most expensive,, so it might as well be you.:D

Yup, working cheaper most always attracts a bunch that still expect it cheaper,, you work longer, wear out your'e equipment, for some guys who have no clue about the time and expenses you've put into the finished product.

RussZHC
06-09-2011, 08:09 PM
Your example has lots of parallels and I think you always want quality and as much as possible, work in an upward spiral, i.e. start with the "best" you can do (at the time) and make efforts to make it better the next time.

Personally I have found myself in situations exactly as previously described where you put out what is a very high level of work (not talking about machining in particular), it takes longer and either you have to speed up or compromise your ethic of quality (employers that are piece work) and, unfortunately, the question can become, how poor a "something" can you put out before enough is enough?

I think it is an ethical question and I want potential clients coming to me because of a reputation of quality. Who had the catch phrase, "When only the best will do?"

Granted you have to look at it in a business frame of mind too and its called, "compromise" as well and can be the difference between a successful business and one that goes under (IMO). IMO as well, small local businesses that are geared to ones and twos have some leg up with a smaller specialized market segment and that is where quality can pay real dividends.

Dave P.
06-09-2011, 08:52 PM
I'm a part time, do it myself shop. I charge $65.00 per hour.
I let the customer decide how much time/quality they want in
their parts.
The people that bring me work understand this, I have a small "core"
group of customers that trust me and pay by the hour. Sometimes
they question the price of something and we'll walk through the steps
needed to get the results they want. If they come with a budget for
something and it's really low they can pick the features, finish or dimensions
they want to pitch or loosen up to hit the price. I'll make junk but it's
still $65.00 per hour.
Dave

goose
06-09-2011, 09:07 PM
Just to note, that if your hourly rate is "X" and just because you're sick and tired of paying yourself paper hat wearin' - krabby patty flippin' wages you double your hourly rate and then lose half your customers, you end up with the same gross amount. Plus you have the added benefit of more time off.

If you were to lose 3/4's of your customers, you're still way ahead. The gross will be half but additional time saved will more than make up for it. Spend it developing new leads, improving quality control, cleaning the shop, etc.

There's a bunch of people out there shopping only by price, to the point where it's a game to them. Working for cheapskates doesn't bring in more work, poor people hang out with other poor people. You end up selling pearls to paupers. They don't appreciate it and neither you nor they can afford it.

Bob Fisher
06-09-2011, 09:12 PM
Years ago, I heard there were two different design philosophies, design it cheap,and then put enough money into it to make it work,OR, design it to work, then try to take the money out. They were attributed to two of the big three,take your pick.Bob Fisher.

Westline
06-10-2011, 08:06 AM
Thanks Guys

That settles it I had the right idea.
I don't want to be a cheap hack that butchers parts just to make ends meat.
.....sadly it does seem that I'm am quite cheap as it is...:rolleyes:

At the moment I charge R180 per hour about $25.
The reason for that is I have little overhead since I don't have staff and work from home.
It just seems like I'm ripping a client of cus I could work faster but with my experience level the quality goes out the window.

Here is a few examples.
http://i1094.photobucket.com/albums/i460/KobusWestline/e3d76179.jpg
This part took me about 4 hours to make and I charged the client $57
It is 304 SS, the pain was they had to fit inside each other with almost no clearance.
I got the clearance down to about 0.01mm 0.0004inch with a toolpost grinder and when I gave it to the client he was very happy till I gave him the bill.
The jacka$$ did the whole whistle thing and said he did not expect it to be so expensive.
Making me feel like a criminal.

http://i1094.photobucket.com/albums/i460/KobusWestline/427b13f6.jpg
Made 20 of these for $122 for the lot.
The client paid and said it is fine but I keep on wondering is my work sub par??

What do you guys think can I ask more or should I work better (which is something I'm always trying to do).

On a second topic if you get a drawing with no tolerances specified or your doing something for yourself what is the default tolerance you try to get before you go....AAAgh good enough.

Kobus

Jaakko Fagerlund
06-10-2011, 08:13 AM
On a second topic if you get a drawing with no tolerances specified or your doing something for yourself what is the default tolerance you try to get before you go....AAAgh good enough.
Either the parts function is clear and the tolerances are made up from the application OR general ISO medium tolerances (meaning there is some +- tolerance to the measurements).

photomankc
06-10-2011, 08:34 AM
I'd say you were generous with the $57 price tag for 4 hours work. I'd not be surprised to find that most people have zero idea what it takes to make something custom. I didn't 3 years ago. Tell Mr.Whistle to go get a quote for a single at a local big-boy machine shop for your simple tool and bring mat so he has something to faint onto.

All my work has been for family so far but I do like to give a bit of explanation on the process, as it makes it a little more clear to them why you can't just whip something out it 10 minutes while they wait at the door.

fixerdave
06-10-2011, 08:51 AM
I'm strictly amateur when it comes to shop work, but I would like to point out a couple of things:

1) taking the cheap China/tool analogy further... I've heard that many Chinese factories are quite capable of turning out high quality work. We get cheap because that's what we're willing to pay for. A long time ago Japan was the same way... look at them now.

2) do you really expect people to come on this board and say "yeah, I service the low-ball market. I underbid everyone, turn out crap, and don't expect repeat customers." I mean... somebody has to be "the other guy." Don't expect anyone to admit it, though.

Generally speaking, it is a perfectly reasonable business move to start out producing for the low-end market because, let's face it, lots of people are only willing to pay for crap. Many companies, and entire nations for that matter, have moved from low-end to high-end markets as they matured. That said, I have no idea if this holds true for job-shop machining. As previously stated, I don't make money from my shop... about the only things I make there in quantity are mistakes.

Steve Seebold
06-10-2011, 08:58 AM
I call them the way I see them, if you can get it made somewhere else for less, then that's the place to go.

I have read about guys on other sites who had a new prospective customer bring a job for them to bid and then tell the that Joe Schmoe down the street made it for 30% less last time. When asked why they don't just go back to him their answer was "he's gone out of business". Gee I wonder why.

I haven't cut my rate since this downturn began. If given the choice of cutting my rate or going fishing, I'm going fishing.

I'm not as busy as I'd like to be, but all the equipment is paid for, I'm working in the garage and the house is paid for and I'm getting by.

Rustybolt
06-10-2011, 11:25 AM
"There will always be somebody who is willing to do it cheaper."



Do the best work you and your machines are capable of and charge accordingly.And remember every job is a learning experience.

DATo
06-10-2011, 05:52 PM
A retired engineer to whom I had been referred came to my home one night and asked me if I would consider making some modifications to a prototype he was designing. The kicker was that he needed it the next night. I made a good-faith estimate of what it would cost to do and told him $250. The next night he arrived and I handed him his parts. "How much did you say?", said he. "$156." said I. "I thought you said $250." said he. "I overestimated the cost. It didn't take as long as I thought it would.", I replied. I had a customer for life. If the job had overrun my estimate I would not have charged him a dime more; but, if he had quibbled over my original quote on the first night however, I would have shown him the door. Be honest, to both your customer AND yourself.

RussZHC
06-10-2011, 06:49 PM
Please keep in mind what this is, a comment from someone who is neither machinist or businessman.

My concern would be selling oneself short.
As example, what happens the next time "Mr Whistle" comes in with the same or similar part...in some way you have sort of "locked" yourself into that price or something very close to it [personally I think you sold yourself short, time v. pay even if you are slow, like me :D , you still have to be fair to yourself].
I am a "soft touch" too, often taking less than what the work is worth.
The difficulty becomes, of course, how to get out of that trend once/if the customer returns.

Re: quality of what you have produced, at some level if its functional...not sure how much of a role tolerances play and, IMO, for the HSM if the pieces fit together, function and have a reasonable life span...

Dat0 has the right idea, not sure being "off" by $100 is a good thing, still...

DATo
06-10-2011, 07:06 PM
Please keep in mind what this is, a comment from someone who is neither machinist or businessman.

My concern would be selling oneself short.
As example, what happens the next time "Mr Whistle" comes in with the same or similar part...in some way you have sort of "locked" yourself into that price or something very close to it [personally I think you sold yourself short, time v. pay even if you are slow, like me :D , you still have to be fair to yourself].
I am a "soft touch" too, often taking less than what the work is worth.
The difficulty becomes, of course, how to get out of that trend once/if the customer returns.

Re: quality of what you have produced, at some level if its functional...not sure how much of a role tolerances play and, IMO, for the HSM if the pieces fit together, function and have a reasonable life span...

Dat0 has the right idea, not sure being "off" by $100 is a good thing, still...

Your criticism is being taken good-naturedly I assure you *L* Yes, I blew it big time on that quote but at the time I had a $3700 mold under way in the shop which also had a deadline and my mind was on other things. The most important thing to me was not the $250 anyway but developing a new customer. This particular customer proved to be a "good" one ie. that prototype eventually went into production and guess who got first option to bid on the parts.